EU criticises Turkish-Libyan maritime border deal
The EU member states have declared the military agreement signed between Libya and Turkey at the end of November to be null and void. Among other things the agreement redefined the maritime border between Crete and Cyprus, where natural gas reserves are located. In the meantime Erdoğan has stressed Turkey's willingness to send troops to Libya to support the internationally recognised government. Journalists criticise Ankara's actions.
Turkey acting according to the law of the jungle
Ankara fears nobody, To Vima believes:
“The media and politicians tell us that the agreement between Turkey and Libya isn't based on existing law and therefore is null and void. Not all of them heard Erdoğan say that in Turkey the law of the sea of the Ottoman Empire applies, and that therefore the agreement is completely legal. But that's all nonsense of course, because Turkey functions according to the old 'law of the jungle'. It fears nobody - especially not Greece or Cyprus.”
Will the martyrs' bodies come from Libya next?
The Kemalist newspaper Sözcü asks what business Turkish soldiers have in Libya:
“So, my brother: if you send soldiers to Libya, what will they do there? Get involved in the bloody war between the two sides [and segments of the country]? Will our next martyrs' bodies come back to us from Libya? We are confronted with someone who is both the party chairman and president. How can he [Erdoğan] speak so irresponsibly? Turkish soldiers are not a force that can just be randomly sent to any country. They are here to defend our homeland. But now the whole world knows that this government happily uses our army for other purposes.”
Don't let other states' frustration get in the way
It's hardly surprising that other neighbouring Mediterranean countries are angry, Daily Sabah comments:
“Obviously, the deal effectively blocks any similar agreement between Greece, Egypt, and the Greek Cypriots. At the same time, it strengthens Turkey's legal arguments regarding its drilling and seismic research activities in the Eastern Mediterranean. Hence the strong reaction from Egypt and Greece to Turkey's latest move. Their frustration, however, cannot stop the two maritime neighbours from defining their borders.”
The time for being nice is over
Athens should avoid the kind of harsh rhetoric being used by Ankara, but it shouldn't go on putting up with everything either, Liberal concludes:
“In the modern world those who build alliances win, not those who try to revive empires according to the standards of the Middle Ages and feudalism. We can't rule out the idea of sitting down at a table with Turkey to discuss matters. What we must rule out is a continuation of the previous policy which landed us in the present impasse. As it turned out, the policy of partnership and being nice have no future. ... There are no alternative policies in international relations or in business. They have been tested and failed, and even caused great damage.”
Ankara working towards a "Light Blue Homeland"
Greece is right to react so fiercely, columnist Xenia Tourki writes in Phileleftheros:
“Ankara wants to establish a maritime axis between [Libya and Turkey] and to do so it is effectively 'erasing' Crete and the Aegean islands from the map. This is yet another step in the direction of the 'Light Blue Homeland', the plan to conquer a part of the eastern Mediterranean and the Aegean on the grounds that beyond their territorial waters these islands have no claim to maritime zones. Although this is just a first draft of the agreement, the consequences could be very serious.”
Illegal - but effective
The agreement underpins what Ankara has been pushing for for years, writes Angelos Syrigos, a professor of international law and member of parliament for the governing Nea Dimokratia party, in Kathimerini:
“Namely that the islands are not entitled to a continental shelf under law. And last but not least, it would shift the point of contention from the Kastellorizo continental shelf to that of Crete.The bad thing is that even though it is illegal, from the moment that it is signed, such a deal can only be overturned if Libya backs out of the agreement or by recourse to international justice - and Turkey will never accept the latter alternative. So, if the delineation has been signed, no matter how illegal, it will always stand in Greece's path.”